A Great and Humble Calling

LISTEN TO ME, YOU ISLANDS; hear this you distant nations: Before I was born the Lord called me; from my birth he has made mention of my name. He made my mouth like a sharpened sword, in the shadow of his hand he hid me; he made me into a polished arrow and concealed me in his quiver.

He said to me, "You are my servant, Israel, in whom I will display my splendor." But I said, "I have labored to no purpose; I have spent my strength in vain and for nothing. Yet what is due me is in the Lord's hand, and my reward is with my God."

And now the Lord says - he who formed me in the womb to be his servant, to bring Jacob back to him and gather Israel to himself, for I am honored in the eyes of the Lord and my God has been my strength - he says: "It is too small a thing for you to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept. I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring my salvation to the ends of the earth ..."

"CAN A MOTHER forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me ...

"KINGS WILL BE your foster fathers, and their queens your nursing mothers. They will bow down before you with their faces to the ground; they will lick the dust at your feet. Then you will know that I am the Lord; those who hope in me will not be disappointed ...

"I WILL MAKE your oppressors eat their own flesh; they will be drunk on their own blood, as with wine. Then all flesh will know that I, the Lord, am your Savior, your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob."
--Isaiah 49: 1-6, 15-16, 23, 26

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